Posted by: fateaglescout | October 8, 2009


293 pounds

I’ve been looking into new camping equipment.  I definitely need some new hiking boots and could probably use both a new day pack and backpacking pack.  I’m set for spring and summer camping, but could probably use a sleeping bag if I do anything later than early fall.  There have been some pretty neat developments since I was last paying attention.

The first thing I’ll need to get is probably a daypack.  I have boots that will suffice for the time being and I can always use my old external frame pack in a pinch (if I’m nice, my dad may even let me borrow is internal frame pack).  However, after being a college student and/or living in the city for about 12 years, I only own messenger bags.  A quick look at some of the rating sites suggests that I can’t think about packs without thinking about water.  It looks like most daypacks either come with a “hydration pack” or can support one.  I’m a little torn about this.  There’s part of me that looks back romantically on lugging around my old surplus canteen on a web belt and rectangular, aluminum Boy Scout back up canteen complete with red nylon cover.  Plus, calling it a “hydration pack” is needlessly pretentious.

However, I can’t get over the weight saved by using a small plastic bladder with a convenient bit of medical tubing hanging right over the shoulder for easy use.  It looks like even the Army, an institution not known for quick adoption of new technology, is all over this.  So I guess I’m just slightly inclined to go with a pack that includes a “hydration pack.”  If anyone knows of something else to call that so I don’t have to feel like an ass all the time, please let me know.  I don’t want to call it a camelbak either.  I need a word like canteen.  Something generic that doesn’t make me feel like a sell out or over-equiped neophyte.

Time to leave this old stand-by behind?

Time to leave this old stand-by behind?

It looks like Camelpak is at least the most well known manufacturer of daypacks with “hydration packs” (you see the problem here?)  They get pretty good reviews and sell for around $75 to $100.  I think I like the GoLite VO24.  It’s name is about as bad as “hydration pack” but the 3 liter bladder is removable and it has pouches for traditional canteens if I just can’t stand it anymore.   It also comes in multiple sizes and collapses small enough to pack in a backpacking pack if I’m traveling heavy.  I also like the slim design.



Are there any big opinions out there?  I mostly looked here for reviews of different packs:  That seemed like a pretty good site with plenty of user reviews in addition to company pitches.  If anyone knows of another, better place to look, I’d love to hear it.  I’d also like to hear any personal experience anyone has with a daypack they really like.

Coming up next, I’m going to look into new hiking boots.


  1. I lo-o-ve my Keen boots. Best fit ever. Them’s my sentiments. Mom-o

  2. I got a day pack you can borrow if you want. Like borrow indefinitely. I ended up getting a dedicated hunting pack that is almost exactly the same thing, so it is duplicated. I got it for free too, so you won’t have to feel weird about it. IMO the hiker equipment scene is full of gimmicks. Hunters tend to be a little more conservative with your gear, but it’s the same stuff so look there.

    I have one of those canteens, and I thought I would use it hunting but I never do. It might be useful for purification tablets but honestly, if you need to mix something in a “hydration pack,” you can put in the stuff, inflate it with air using your mouth, and then shake it up and let out the air. Tip from yours truly.

    And as far as a euphemism, I just call it my water bag. It is awesome to have once you get the rubbery taste out. Free to borrow pack doesn’t have a water bag but it supports one and they’re a wear item anyway, so you could just pick one up.

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